Daily Archives: February 4, 2018

SOUTH AFRICA: CAPE TOWN’S WATER CRISIS HITTING TOURISM – OFFICIALS

CAPE TOWN– A chronic drought that could leave South Africa’s Cape Town without water within weeks is hurting visitor numbers and knocking a rare economic bright spot, officials said.

With experts predicting Cape Town will run out of water in mid-April, residents have been told to limit usage to 50 litres per person per day. An average bath holds 80 litres of water.

Hotels have asked guests not to use baths and to limit showers to two minutes or less, while some restaurants are switching to disposable cups and ditching table linen.

Around 10 million tourists visited Cape Town last year, drawn by iconic sights like Table Mountain, its long sandy beaches and clutch of nearby wine farms.

Tourism accounted for an estimated 9 percent of South Africa’s economic output last year, or 412 billion rand ($35 billion).

Though visitors are sympathetic to Cape Town’s plight, there are fears that people may stay away due to the inconvenience of water restrictions or because they don’t want to add to demand.

There’s no doubt that the knock-on effect of the water conservation crossroads we find ourselves in has had an impact on tourism, said Enver Duminy, chief executive officer at Cape Town Tourism.

There is no official data available yet to quantify the impact water shortages are having on numbers but Duminy said there had already been cancellations.

The Global Sourcing Association, a large London-based non-profit, said it was postponing a major March conference in Cape Town to later in the year when it hopes the drought situation will be alleviated.

In a bid to limit the economic damage, which could spell jobs losses in a country with 25 percent unemployment, SA Tourism, a government agency, will soon embark on a global roadshow to reassure potential visitors.

We are a tough country, a resilient country and I am quite confident we will find our way around this, said Sisa Ntshona, SA Tourism’s chief executive.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SIX AFRICANS INJURED IN ‘RACIAL’ DRIVE-BY SHOOTING SPREE IN ITALY

ROME– A shaven-headed far-right supporter suspected of wounding six Africans on Saturday (Feb 3) in brazen drive-by shootings in central Italy was arrested, as the country’s interior minister said “racial hatred” had prompted the attack.

After the morning assault in the town of Macerata, the suspect got out of his car, made a fascist salute with a tricolour Italian flag draped over his shoulders and shouted “Viva Italia”, or “Long Live Italy”, and “Italy for Italians,” media reports said.

The wounded were five men and one woman from Ghana, Mali and Nigeria, the Agi news agency said. It came a day after a Nigerian man was arrested in the town over the gruesome murder of a teenage Italian girl.

Interior Minister Marco Minniti said the attack was part of a culture “of right-wing extremism with clear reference to fascism and Nazism” and deplored that the sole link between the victims was “the colour of their skin”.

He said the “criminal act” was “prepared in advance”.

The man allegedly opened fire in eight areas in the town and also targeted the office of the centre-left Democratic Party in a two-hour terror spree in the sleepy town of 43,000 people, press reports said.

“Six people were injured and all of them are foreigners,” said town mayor Romano Carancini. Police confirmed in a tweet that “the wounded persons were of foreign nationality”, adding that the “presumed author of the attack is Italian”.

One victim was seriously injured in the thorax, press reports said. The other five had lesser injuries.

Television footage showed the suspect being arrested at the town’s war memorial. Police also posted a photo of the capture.

Italian media identified the man as Luca Traini, 28, and said he was a member of the far-right anti-immigration Northern League party, who had run in local elections last year.

Media reports said police found a gun in the man’s vehicle, a black Alfa Romeo.

‘HATE WILL NOT DIVIDE US’

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni meanwhile made a pitch for unity, saying: “Hate and violence will not divide us.”

The attack comes a day after a Nigerian asylum-seeker was arrested in Macerata over the gruesome killing of an 18-year-old Italian woman whose dismembered body was discovered in suitcases earlier this week.

Police found the clothes of the victim, Pamela Mastropietro, in the house of the 29-year-old Nigerian as well as a bloodstained knife.

However, no official link has been made between the two incidents.

The country is a favoured landing point on Europe’s southern coastline for migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, often aboard unseaworthy boats, to enter the continent.

But 2017 was a turning point for Italy: the country went from large-scale arrivals in the first six months to a sharp drop-off, thanks to controversial agreement between the EU and Libya.

Some 119,000 people landed in Italy last year, down 35 per cent on 2016.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SIX AFRICANS INJURED IN ‘RACIAL’ DRIVE-BY SHOOTING SPREE IN ITALY

ROME– A shaven-headed far-right supporter suspected of wounding six Africans on Saturday (Feb 3) in brazen drive-by shootings in central Italy was arrested, as the country’s interior minister said “racial hatred” had prompted the attack.

After the morning assault in the town of Macerata, the suspect got out of his car, made a fascist salute with a tricolour Italian flag draped over his shoulders and shouted “Viva Italia”, or “Long Live Italy”, and “Italy for Italians,” media reports said.

The wounded were five men and one woman from Ghana, Mali and Nigeria, the Agi news agency said. It came a day after a Nigerian man was arrested in the town over the gruesome murder of a teenage Italian girl.

Interior Minister Marco Minniti said the attack was part of a culture “of right-wing extremism with clear reference to fascism and Nazism” and deplored that the sole link between the victims was “the colour of their skin”.

He said the “criminal act” was “prepared in advance”.

The man allegedly opened fire in eight areas in the town and also targeted the office of the centre-left Democratic Party in a two-hour terror spree in the sleepy town of 43,000 people, press reports said.

“Six people were injured and all of them are foreigners,” said town mayor Romano Carancini. Police confirmed in a tweet that “the wounded persons were of foreign nationality”, adding that the “presumed author of the attack is Italian”.

One victim was seriously injured in the thorax, press reports said. The other five had lesser injuries.

Television footage showed the suspect being arrested at the town’s war memorial. Police also posted a photo of the capture.

Italian media identified the man as Luca Traini, 28, and said he was a member of the far-right anti-immigration Northern League party, who had run in local elections last year.

Media reports said police found a gun in the man’s vehicle, a black Alfa Romeo.

‘HATE WILL NOT DIVIDE US’

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni meanwhile made a pitch for unity, saying: “Hate and violence will not divide us.”

The attack comes a day after a Nigerian asylum-seeker was arrested in Macerata over the gruesome killing of an 18-year-old Italian woman whose dismembered body was discovered in suitcases earlier this week.

Police found the clothes of the victim, Pamela Mastropietro, in the house of the 29-year-old Nigerian as well as a bloodstained knife.

However, no official link has been made between the two incidents.

The country is a favoured landing point on Europe’s southern coastline for migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, often aboard unseaworthy boats, to enter the continent.

But 2017 was a turning point for Italy: the country went from large-scale arrivals in the first six months to a sharp drop-off, thanks to controversial agreement between the EU and Libya.

Some 119,000 people landed in Italy last year, down 35 per cent on 2016.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SIX AFRICANS INJURED IN ‘RACIAL’ DRIVE-BY SHOOTING SPREE IN ITALY

ROME– A shaven-headed far-right supporter suspected of wounding six Africans on Saturday (Feb 3) in brazen drive-by shootings in central Italy was arrested, as the country’s interior minister said “racial hatred” had prompted the attack.

After the morning assault in the town of Macerata, the suspect got out of his car, made a fascist salute with a tricolour Italian flag draped over his shoulders and shouted “Viva Italia”, or “Long Live Italy”, and “Italy for Italians,” media reports said.

The wounded were five men and one woman from Ghana, Mali and Nigeria, the Agi news agency said. It came a day after a Nigerian man was arrested in the town over the gruesome murder of a teenage Italian girl.

Interior Minister Marco Minniti said the attack was part of a culture “of right-wing extremism with clear reference to fascism and Nazism” and deplored that the sole link between the victims was “the colour of their skin”.

He said the “criminal act” was “prepared in advance”.

The man allegedly opened fire in eight areas in the town and also targeted the office of the centre-left Democratic Party in a two-hour terror spree in the sleepy town of 43,000 people, press reports said.

“Six people were injured and all of them are foreigners,” said town mayor Romano Carancini. Police confirmed in a tweet that “the wounded persons were of foreign nationality”, adding that the “presumed author of the attack is Italian”.

One victim was seriously injured in the thorax, press reports said. The other five had lesser injuries.

Television footage showed the suspect being arrested at the town’s war memorial. Police also posted a photo of the capture.

Italian media identified the man as Luca Traini, 28, and said he was a member of the far-right anti-immigration Northern League party, who had run in local elections last year.

Media reports said police found a gun in the man’s vehicle, a black Alfa Romeo.

‘HATE WILL NOT DIVIDE US’

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni meanwhile made a pitch for unity, saying: “Hate and violence will not divide us.”

The attack comes a day after a Nigerian asylum-seeker was arrested in Macerata over the gruesome killing of an 18-year-old Italian woman whose dismembered body was discovered in suitcases earlier this week.

Police found the clothes of the victim, Pamela Mastropietro, in the house of the 29-year-old Nigerian as well as a bloodstained knife.

However, no official link has been made between the two incidents.

The country is a favoured landing point on Europe’s southern coastline for migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, often aboard unseaworthy boats, to enter the continent.

But 2017 was a turning point for Italy: the country went from large-scale arrivals in the first six months to a sharp drop-off, thanks to controversial agreement between the EU and Libya.

Some 119,000 people landed in Italy last year, down 35 per cent on 2016.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Italy’s Prime Minister Urges Calm as Shooting of Migrants Inflames Election

Luca Traini, a one-time club bouncer, sometime boxer and far-right electoral candidate, was defiant during a standoff with Italy’s paramilitary police, the Carabinieri, Saturday in a piazza in the small central Italian town of Macerata, 200 kilometers northeast of Rome.

After wounding a half-dozen African immigrants, two seriously, during a two-hour drive-by rampage in the town’s narrow streets, he slowly removed his jacket in front of a war memorial and draped the Italian tricolor flag over his shoulders before giving the Fascist salute and surrendering to police, eye witnesses said.

The calmness of his arrest contrasted with the chaos that swept the hilltop town of 43,000 as the 28-year-old scanned the streets Saturday for migrants to shoot.

He drove around in his car and when he saw any colored people he shot them, said Macerata resident Marcello Mancini. The town’s mayor and local police urged residents to stay off the streets and remain indoors as the drama unfolded.

Six wounded, two seriously

Police say five men and one woman were injured in the attack, which may have been carried out in revenge for the killing in January of a teenage Italian girl, a drug addict. Police suspect a 29-year-old Nigerian migrant, who was taken into custody last week.

All of Traini’s victims came from sub-Saharan Africa and are between the ages of 21 and 33, police said. Four were discharged from the hospital after receiving treatment for minor wounds. The two remaining in hospital have serious, but not life-threatening, injuries local officials said.

Locker-room conversation

According to police and local media reports, Traini told friends last week at a local gym that he wasn’t afraid to use a pistol he owned.

The threat came during locker-room conversations about the discovery of the body of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro, found dismembered and stuffed into two suitcases on the outskirts of Macerata. Some local media reports suggest Traini may have known the girl and may have had a romantic obsession for her.

Racial tensions in the town have been high since Mastropietro’s murder. Calls for revenge attacks were posted on the Facebook page of the girl’s mother days before Traini’s shooting spree.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told Italians on national television a few hours after the shootings that hatred and violence will not be able to divide us, and he urged calm.

National elections

But Traini’s racially motivated shooting spree is inflaming Italian national politics a month before an election supercharged with angry exchanges over immigration, which has become the top issue in a bad-tempered election.

Italy’s far-right populist parties have been campaigning on anti-immigration platforms. The country’s maverick anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which may emerge from the polls March 4 the largest single party, has been echoing the anti-migrant sentiments of the populist right in recent weeks.

Some left-wing politicians accuse their far-right opponents of shaping the circumstances for the shooting, arguing that charged anti-migrant rhetoric risks prompting violence.

Within hours of Saturday’s shootings, the leader of Forza Nuova, a neo-fascist party, offered to pay Traini’s legal bills and said the shooter’s actions were understandable.

Traini, who was a regional candidate for the far-right Northern League in local polls last year, was formerly a member of Forza Nuova. On the right side of his forehead, he sports the party’s symbol, the Wolfsangel rune, the insignia of Adolf Hitler’s 2nd SS Panzer Division known as Das Reich.

In a Facebook posting, party leader Roberto Fiori wrote, the immigration phenomenon is now totally out of control and argued Italy is being buffeted by Nigerian tribal criminality. He added: Our young people are now at the mercy of forces that I would not hesitate to define as satanic.

He urged people to guard our neighborhoods, even physically oppose drug dealers, to prevent our cities from becoming lethal traps for our youth and an ideal place for all sorts of criminals and murderers.

More than 600,000 migrants, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, have entered Italy illegally by sea, mainly setting off from war-torn Libya, in the last four years, straining the cash-strapped country’s resources.

Right-wing alliance

Matteo Salvini, the head of the Northern League, a partner in a right-wing electoral alliance overseen by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, condemned the shooting but laid the blame for it on Italy’s open migration policy, which he says has fueled racial tensions. Salvini has been campaigning for the expulsion of migrants and says any coalition government he joins will need to expel at least 100,000 in its first year in power.

Opinion polls suggest that Berlusconi’s right-wing alliance, including the Northern League, Forza Italia and the Brothers of Italy, will likely win the largest bloc of parliamentary seats but not enough to form a working majority.

Source: Voice of America